Review: Celine by Peter Heller
A Rapid Review
Publisher: Random House Audio | March 2017
Format: Audio Download | 11½ hours | Rating: 3½ stars
Audio Listening Level: Easy – Intermediate
The story of Celine, an elegant, aristocratic private eye who specializes in reuniting families, trying to make amends for a loss in her own past.
What’s it about . . .
Celine is a private eye who specializes in tracking down missing persons. Gabriella is searching for her father, a National Geographic photographer, who was thought to have been killed by a grizzly bear, although no body was ever recovered. Celine, a complex, feisty woman now in her 80s, is very selective about the cases she takes, but agrees to help Gabriella.
What did I think . . .
I would call this a mystery, but not a typical who-done-it. The story is very literary and beautifully written, and the mystery itself takes a back seat to the life story of Celine. Using frequent jumps back in time, we alternate between the past and the present to learn about Celine’s backstory. Celine is the most developed character, and while we do learn a little about Gabriella, I would have liked more.
While I enjoyed the story, I didn’t like it as much as one of the author’s previous books, The Dog Stars, but maybe I have set the bar too high. I loved Dog Stars and it is a favorite of mine. The writing is what made this novel especially enjoyable. Descriptive scenes, particularly Yellowstone Park, were captivating.
By the end of the novel, the mystery is solved and Gabriella has her answers: Perhaps a little too neatly, but an ending that should satisfy most. But there are still many unanswered questions about Celine. Perhaps a sequel?
The audio was read by Kimberly Farr. Using a fair amount of emotion, smooth pacing, and appropriate inflection made this a pleasant book to listen to.
The audio format is a good choice for both experienced listeners and those new to the format. The story is easy to follow even with the jumps back and forth in time.
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
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